Emile, or Education

Book 5

It is not good that man should be alone. Emile is now a man, and we must give him his promised helpmeet. That helpmeet is Sophy. Where is her dwelling-place, where shall she be found? We must know beforehand what she is, and then we can decide where to look for her. And when she is found, our task is not ended. “Since our young gentleman,” says Locke, “is about to marry, it is time to leave him with his mistress.” And with these words he ends his book. As I have not the honor of educating “A young gentleman,” I shall take care not to follow his example.

Sophy, or Woman

Sophy should be as truly a woman as Emile is a man, i.e., she must possess all those characters of her sex which are required to enable her to play her part in the physical and moral order. Let us inquire to begin with in what respects her sex differs from our own.

But for her sex, a woman is a man; she has the same organs, the same needs, the same faculties. The machine is the same in its construction; its parts, its working, and its appearance are similar. Regard it as you will the difference is only in degree.

Yet where sex is concerned man and woman are unlike; each is the complement of the other; the difficulty in comparing them lies in our inability to decide, in either case, what is a matter of sex, and what is not. General differences present themselves to the comparative anatomist and even to the superficial observer; they seem not to be a matter of sex; yet they are really sex differences, though the connection eludes our observation. How far such differences may extend we cannot tell; all we know for certain is that where man and woman are alike we have to do with the characteristics of the species; where they are unlike, we have to do with the characteristics of sex. Considered from these two standpoints, we find so many instances of likeness and unlikeness that it is perhaps one of the greatest of marvels how nature has contrived to make two beings so like and yet so different.

These resemblances and differences must have an influence on the moral nature; this inference is obvious, and it is confirmed by experience; it shows the vanity of the disputes as to the superiority or the equality of the sexes; as if each sex, pursuing the path marked out for it by nature, were not more perfect in that very divergence than if it more closely resembled the other. A perfect man and a perfect woman should no more be alike in mind than in face, and perfection admits of neither less nor more.

In the union of the sexes each alike contributes to the common end, but in different ways. From this diversity springs the first difference which may be observed between man and woman in their moral relations. The man should be strong and active; the woman should be weak and passive; the one must have both the power and the will; it is enough that the other should offer little resistance.

When this principle is admitted, it follows that woman is specially made for man’s delight. If man in his turn ought to be pleasing in her eyes, the necessity is less urgent, his virtue is in his strength, he please because he is strong. I grant you this is not the law of love, but it is the law of nature, which is older than love itself.

If woman is made to please and to be in subjection to man, she ought to make herself pleasing in his eyes and not provoke him to anger; her strength is in her charms, by their means she should compel him to discover and use his strength. The surest way of arousing this strength is to make it necessary by resistance. Thus pride comes to help of desire and each exults in the other’s victory. This is the origin of attack and defense, of the boldness of one sex and the timidity of the other, and even of the shame and modesty with which nature has armed the weak for the conquest of the strong.

Who can possibly suppose that nature has prescribed the same advances to the one sex as to the other... if the one were not controlled by modesty as the other is controlled by nature, the result would be the destruction of both, and the human race would perish through the very means ordained for its continuance?

Women so easily stir a man’s senses and fan the ashes of a dying passion, that if philosophy ever succeeded in introducing this custom into any unlucky country, especially if it were a warm country where more women are born than men, tyrannized over by the women, would at last become their victims, and would be dragged to their death without the least chance of escape...

The desires of the animals are the result of necessity, and when the need is satisfied, the desire ceases; they no longer make a feint of repulsing the male, they do it in earnest. Their seasons of complaisance are short and soon over... The Most High had deigned to do honor to mankind; he has endowed man with boundless passions, together with a law to guide them, so that man may be alike free and self-controlled; though swayed by these passions man is endowed with reason by which to control them. Woman is also endowed with boundless passions; God has given her modesty to restrain them. Moreover, he has given to both a present reward for the right use of their powers, in the delight which springs from that right use of them, i.e., the taste for right conduct established as the law of our behavior. To my mind this is far higher than the instinct of the beasts...

If the siege is to be successful, the besieged must permit or direct the attack. How skillfully can she stimulate the efforts of the aggressor. The freest and most delightful of activities does not permit of any real violence; reason and nature are alike against it; nature, in that she has given the weaker party strength enough to resist if she chooses; reason, in that actual violence is not only most brutal in itself, but it defeats its own end...

Thus the different constitution of the two sexes leads us to a third conclusion, that the stronger party seems to be master, but is as a matter of fact dependent on the weaker, and that, not by any foolish custom of gallantry, nor yet by the magnanimity of the protector, but by an inexorable law of nature. For nature has endowed woman with a power of stimulating man’s passions in excess of man’s power of satisfying those passions, and has thus made him dependent on her goodwill, and compelled him in his turn to endeavor to please her, so that she may be willing to yield to his superior strength... In this respect the woman’s mind exactly resembles her body; far from being ashamed of her weakness, she is proud of it; her soft muscles offer no resistance, she professes that she cannot lift the lightest weight; she would be ashamed to be strong. And why? Not only to gain an appearance of refinement; she is too clever for that; she is providing herself beforehand with excuses, with the right to be weak if she chooses...

Woman reigns, not by the will of man, but by the decrees of nature herself; she had the power long before she showed it. That same Hercules who proposed to violate all the fifty daughters of Thespis was compelled to spin at the feet of Omphale, and Samson, the strong man, was less strong than Delilah. This power cannot be taken from woman; it is hers by right; she would have lost it long ago, were it possible.

The consequence of sex are wholly unlike for man and woman. The male is only a male now and again, the female is always a female, or at least all her youth; everything reminds her of her sex; the performance of her functions requires a special constitution. She needs care during pregnancy and freedom from work when her child is born; she must have quiet, easy life while she nurses her children; their education calls for patience and gentleness, for a zeal and love which nothing can dismay; she forms a bond between father and child, she alone can win the father’s love for his children and convince him that they are indeed his own. What loving care is required to preserve a united family! And there should be no question of virtue in all this, it must be a labor of love, without which the human race would be doomed to extinction.

The mutual duties of the two sexes are not, and cannot be, equally binding on both. Women do wrong to complain of the inequality of man-made laws; this inequality is not of man’s making, or at any rate it is not the result of mere prejudices, but of reason. She to whom nature has entrusted the care of the children must hold herself responsible for them to their father. No doubt every breach of faith is wrong, and every faithless husband, who robs his wife of the sole reward of the stern duties of her sex, is cruel and unjust; but the faithless wife is worse; she destroys the family and breaks the bonds of nature; when she gives her husband children who are not his own, she is false both to him and them, her crime is not infidelity but treason...

Thus it is not enough that a wife should be faithful; her husband along with his friends and neighbors, must believe in her fidelity; she must be modest, devoted, retiring; she should have the witness not only of a good conscience, but of a good reputation. In a word, if a father must love his children, he must be able to respect their mother. For these reasons it is not enough that the woman should be chaste, she must preserve her reputation and her good name...

Can a woman suddenly change her way of life without danger? Can she be a nursing mother today and a soldier tomorrow? Will she change her tastes and her feelings as a chameleon changes his color? Will she pass at once from the privacy of household duties and indoor occupations to the buffeting winds, the toils, the labors, the perils of war? Will she be now timid, now brave, now fragile, now robust?... There are countries, I grant you, where women bear and rear children with little or no difficulty, but in those lands the men go half-naked in all weathers, they strike down the wild beasts, they carry a canoe as easily as a knapsack, they pursue the chase for 700 or 800 leagues, they sleep in the open on the bare ground; they bear incredible fatigues and go many days without food. When women become strong, men become still stronger; when men become soft, women become softer; change both the terms and the ratio remains unaltered.

I am quite aware that Plato, in the Republic, assigns the same gymnastics to women and men. Having got rid of the family there is no place for women in his system of government, so he is forced to turn them into men... Will the bonds of convention hold firm without some foundation in nature? Can devotion to the state exist apart from the love of those near and dear to us? Can patriotism thrive except in the soil of that miniature fatherland, the home? Is it not the good son, the good husband, the good father, who makes the good citizen?

When once it is proved that men and women are and ought to be unlike in constitution and in temperament, it follows that their education must be different... We have attempted to paint a natural man, let us try to paint a helpmeet for him.

You must follow nature’s guidance if you would walk aright. The native characters of sex should be respected as nature’s handiwork. You are always saying, “Women have such and such faults, from which we are free.” You are misled by your vanity; what would be faults in you are virtues in them; and things go worse, if they were without these so-called faults. Take care that they do not degenerate into evil, but beware of destroying them.

On the other hand, women are always exclaiming that we educate them for nothing but vanity and coquetry, that we keep them amused with trifles that we may be their masters; we are responsible, so they say, for the faults we attribute to them. How silly! What have men to do with the education of girls? What is there to hinder their mothers educating them as they please? There are no colleges for girls; so much the better for them! Would God there were none for the boys, their education would be more sensible and more wholesome... Is it our fault that we are charmed by their beauty and delighted by their airs and graces, if we are attracted and flattered by the arts they learn from you, if we love to see them prettily dressed, if we let them display at leisure the weapons by which we are subjugated? Well then, educate them like men. The more women are like men, the less influence they will have over men, and then men will be masters indeed...

Woman is worth more as a woman and less as a man; when she makes a good use of her own rights, she has the best of it; when she tries to usurp our rights, she is our inferior. It is impossible to controvert this... they fall below their own level as women, instead of rising to the level of men. If you are sensible mother you will take my advice. Do not try to make your daughter a good man in defiance of nature. Maker her a good woman, and be sure it will be better both for her and us.

Does this mean that she must be brought up in ignorance and kept to housework only?... Nature means them to think, to will, to love, to cultivate their minds as well as their persons; she puts these weapons in their hands to make up for their lack of strength and to enable them to direct the strength of men... Man is dependent on woman through his desires; woman is dependent on man through her desires and also through her needs; he could do without her better than she can do without him. She cannot fulfill her purpose in life without his aid, without his goodwill, without his respect; she is dependent on our feelings, on the price we put upon her virtue, and the opinion we have of her charms and her deserts. Nature herself has decreed that woman, both for herself and her children, should be at the mercy of man’s judgment.

Worth alone will not suffice, a woman must be thought worthy... A woman’s education must therefore be planned in relation to man. To be pleasing in his sight, to win his respect and love, to train him in childhood, to tend him in manhood, to counsel and console, to make his life pleasant and happy, these are the duties of woman for all time, and this is what she should be taught while she is young. The further we depart from this principle, the further we shall be from our goal, and all our precepts will fail to secure her happiness or our own.

Every woman desires to be pleasing in men’s eyes, and this is right; but there is a great difference between wishing to please a man of worth, a really lovable man, and seeking to please those foppish manikins who are a disgrace to their own sex and to the sex which they imitate. Neither nature nor reason can induce a woman to love an effeminate person, nor will she win love by imitating such a person... Only a fool likes folly; to wish to attract such men only shows her own foolishness. If there were no frivolous men, women would soon make them, and women are more responsible for men’s follies than men are for theirs. The woman who loves true manhood and seeks to find favor in its sight will adopt means adapted to her ends...

As the birth of the body must precede the birth of the mind, so the training of the body must precede the cultivation of the mind. This is true of both sexes; but the aim of physical training for boys and girls is not the same; in the one case it is the development of strength, in the other of grace; not that these qualities should be peculiar to either sex, but that their relative values should be different. Women should be strong enough to do anything gracefully; men should be skillful enough to do anything easily.

The exaggeration of feminine delicacy leads to effeminacy in men. Women should not be strong like men but for them, so that their sons may be strong. Convents and boarding-schools, with their plain food and ample opportunities for amusements, races, and games in the open air and in the garden, are better in this respect than the home, where the little girl is fed on delicacies, continually encouraged or reproved, where she is kept sitting in a stuffy room, always under her mother’s eye, afraid to stand or walk or speak or breathe, without a moment’s freedom to play or jump or run or shout, or to be her natural, lively, little self...

Everything which cramps and confines nature is in bad taste; this is as true of the adornments of the person as of the ornaments of the mind. Life, health, common-sense, and comfort must come first; there is no grace in discomfort, languor is not refinement, there is no charm in ill-health; suffering may excite pity, but pleasure and delight demand the freshness of health.

Boys and girls have many games in common, and this is as it should be; do they not play together when they are grown up? They have also special tastes of their own. Boys want movement and noise, drums, tops, toy-carts; girls prefer things which appeal to the eye, and can be used for dressing-up --mirrors, jewelry, finery, and specially dolls. The doll is the girl’s special plaything; this shows her instinctive bent towards her life’s work. The art of pleasing finds its physical basis in person adornment, and this physical side of the art is the only one which the child can cultivate.

Here is a little girl busy all day with her doll; she is always changing its clothes, dressing and undressing it, trying new combinations of trimmings well or ill matched; her fingers are clumsy, her taste is crude, but there is no mistaking her bent; in this endless occupation time flies unheeded, the hours slip away unnoticed, even meals are forgotten... Little girls always dislike learning to read and write, but they are always ready to learn to sew. They think they are grown up, and in imagination they are using their knowledge for their own adornment...

Speaking, generally, if it is desirable to restrict a man’s studies to what is useful, this is even more necessary for women... good sense belongs to both sexes alike. Girls are usually more docile than boys, and they should be subjected to more authority, as I shall show later on, but that is no reason why they should be required to do things in which they can see neither rhyme nor reason. The mother’s art consists in showing the use of everything they are set to do, and this is all the easier as the girl’s intelligence is more precocious than the boy’s... If I object to little boys being made to learn to read, still more to I object to it for little girls until they are able to see the use of reading; we generally think more of our own ideas than theirs in our attempts to convince them of the utility of this art...

Show the sense of the tasks you set your little girls, but keep them busy. Idleness and insubordination are two very dangerous faults, and very hard to cure when once established. Girls should be attentive and industrious, but this is not enough by itself; they should early be accustomed to restraint. This misfortune, if such it be, is inherent in their sex, and they will never escape from it, unless to endure more cruel sufferings... teach them above all things self-control. Under our senseless conditions, the life of a good woman is a perpetual struggle against self; it is only fair that woman should bear her share of the ills she has brought upon man.

Beware lest your girls become weary of their tasks and infatuated with their amusements; this often happens under our ordinary methods of education... A little girl who is fond of her mother or her friend will work by her side all day without getting tired; the chatter alone will make up for any loss of liberty... Neither should they be told that they ought to love their mother. Affection is not the result of duty, and in this respect constraint is out of place. Continual intercourse, constant care, habit itself, all these will lead a child to love her mother, if the mother does nothing to deserve the child’s ill-will. The very control she exercises over the child, if well directed, will increase rather than diminish the affection, for women being made for dependence, girls feel themselves made to obey...

Do not deprive them of mirth, laughter, noise, and romping games, but do not let them tire of one game and go off to another; do not leave them for a moment without restraint. Train them to break off their games and return to their other occupations without a murmur. Habit is all that is needed, as you have nature on your side...

What is most wanted in a woman is gentleness; formed to obey a creature so imperfect as man, a creature often vicious and always faulty, she should early learn to submit to injustice and to suffer the wrongs inflicted on her by her husband without complaint; she must be gentle for her own sake, not his. Bitterness and obstinacy only multiply the sufferings of the wife... Heaven did not make women attractive and persuasive that they might degenerate into bitterness, or meek that they should desire the mastery; their soft voice was not meant for hard words, nor their delicate features for the frowns of anger... a man, unless he is a perfect monster, will sooner or later yield to his wife’s gentleness, and the victory will be hers...

To make a girl docile you need not make her miserable; to make her modest you need not terrify her... Cunning is a natural gift of woman, and so convinced am I that all our natural inclinations are right, that I would cultivate this among others, only guarding against its abuse... This special skill with which the female sex is endowed is a fair equivalent for its lack of strength; without it woman would be man’s slave, not his helpmeet. By her superiority in this respect she maintains her equality with man, and rules in obedience. She has everything against her, our faults and her own weakness and timidity; her beauty and her wiles are all that she has. Should she not cultivate both? Yet beauty is not universal; it may be destroyed by all sorts of accidents, it will disappear with years, and habit will destroy its influence. A women’s real resource is her wit; not that foolish wit which is so greatly admired in society, a wit which does nothing to make life happier; but that wit which is adapted to her condition, the art of taking advantage of our position and controlling us through our own strength. Words cannot tell how beneficial this is to man, what a charm it gives to the society of men and women, how it checks the petulant child and restrains the brutal husband; without it the home would be a scene of strife; with it, it is the abode of happiness. I know that this power is abused by the sly and the spiteful; but what is there that is not liable to abuse? Do not destroy the means of happiness because the wicked use them to our hurt.

The toilet may attract notice, but it is the person that wins our hearts. Our finery is not us; its very artificiality often offends, and that which is least noticeable in itself often wins the most attention... “How lovely she is!” people say when she is most dressed up. On the contrary, they should be taught that so much finery is only required to hide their defects, and that beauty’s real triumph is to shine alone...

If I saw a young girl decked out like a little peacock, I should show myself anxious about her figure so disguised, and anxious what people would think of her; I should say, “She is over-dressed with all those ornaments; what a pity! Do you think she could do with something simpler? Is she pretty enough to do without this or that?.. Moreover, though there are figures that require adornment there are none that require expensive clothes...

Do not be afraid to educate your women as women; teach them a woman’s business, that they be modest, that they may know how to manage their house and look after their family... Growing girls perceive at once that all this outside adornment is not enough unless they have charms of their own. They cannot make themselves beautiful, they are too young for coquetry, but they are not too young to acquire graceful gestures, a pleasing voice, a self-possessed manner, a light step, a graceful gestures, pleasing voice, a self-possessed manner, a light step, a graceful bearing, to choose whatever advantages are within their reach... a young girl should not live like her grandmother; she should be lively, merry, and eager; she should sing and dance to her heart’s content, and enjoy all the innocent pleasures of youth; the time will come, all too soon, when she must settle down and adopt a more serious tone...

Where pleasure is the only end in view, any one may serve as teacher-- father, mother, brother, sister, friend, governess, the girl’s mirror, and above all her own taste. Do not offer to teach, let her ask; do not make a task of what should be a reward, and in those studies above all remember that the wish to succeed is the first step. If formal instruction is required I leave it to you to choose between a master and a mistress... Taste is formed partly by industry and partly by talent, and by its means the mind is unconsciously opened to the idea of beauty of every kind, till at length it attains to those moral ideas which are so closely related to beauty. Perhaps this is one reason why ideas of propriety and modesty are acquired earlier by girls than by boys...

Women have ready tongues; they talk earlier, more easily, and more pleasantly than men. they are also said to talk more; this may be true, but I am prepared to reckon it to their credit; eyes and mouth are equally busy and for the same cause. A man says what he knows, a woman says what will please; the one needs knowledge, the other taste; utility should be the man’s object; the woman speaks to give pleasure. There should be nothing in common but truth.

You should not check a girl’s prattle like a boy’s by the harsh question, “What is the use of that?” but by another question at least as difficult to answer, “What effect will that have?”... A man seeks to serve, a woman seeks to please. Hence a woman’s politeness is less insincere than ours, whatever we may think of her character; for she is only acting upon a fundamental instinct... The social relation of the sexes is a wonderful thing. This relation produces a moral person of which woman is the eye and man the hand, but the two are so dependent on one another that the man teaches the woman what to see, while she teaches him what to do. If women could discover principles and if men had as good heads for detail, they would be mutually independent, they would live in perpetual strife, and there would be an end to all society. But in their mutual harmony each contributes to a common purpose; each follows the other’s lead, each commands and each obeys...

In the first place, when you teach religion to little girls never make it gloomy or tiresome, never make it a task or a duty, and therefore never give them anything to learn by heart, not even their prayers. Be content to say your own prayers regularly in their presence, but do not compel them to join you. Let their prayers be short, as Christ himself has taught us... Example! Example! Without it you will never succeed in teaching children anything.

When you explain the Articles of Faith let it be by direct teaching, not by question and answer. Children should only answer what they think, not what has been drilled into them. All the answers in the catechism are the wrong way about; it is the scholar who instructs the teacher; in the child’s mouth they are a downright lie, since they explain what he does not understand, and affirm what he cannot believe...

I wish some one who really understands the development of children’s minds would write a catechism for them. It might be the most useful book ever written, and, in my opinion, it would do its author no little honor. This at least is certain-- if it were a good book it would be very unlike our catechisms...

But what does concern my fellow-creatures and myself alike is to know that there is indeed a judge of human fate, that we are all His children, that He bids us all be just, He bids us love one another, He bids us be kindly and merciful, He bids us keep our word with all men, even with our own enemies and His; we must know that the apparent happiness of this world is naught; that there is another life to come, in which this Supreme Being will be the rewarder of the just and the judge of the unjust. Children need to be taught these doctrines and others like them and all citizens require to be persuaded of their truth...

Give no heed, therefore, to all those mysterious doctrines which are words without ideas for us, all those strange teachings, the study of which is too often offered as a substitute for virtue, a study which more often makes men mad rather than good... train them to feel that they are always in the presence of God, who sees their thoughts and deeds, their virtue and their pleasures; teach them to do good without ostentation and because they love it, to suffer evil without a murmur, because God will reward them; in a word to be all their life long what they will be glad to have been when they appear in His presence. This is true religion; this alone is incapable of abuse, impiety, or fanaticism. Let those who will, teach a religion more sublime, but this is the only religion I know...

To what shall we reduce the education of our women if we give them no law but that of conventional prejudice? Let us not degrade so far the sex which rules over us, and which does us honor when we have not made it vile. For all mankind there is a law anterior to that of public opinion. All other laws should bend before the inflexible control of this law; it is the judge of public opinion, and only in so far as the esteem of men is in accordance with this law has it any claim on our conscience.

This law is our individual conscience. I will not repeat what has been said already; it is enough to point out that if these two laws clash, the education of women will always be imperfect. Right feeling without respect for public opinion will not give them the delicacy of soul which lends to right conduct the charm of social approval; while respect for public opinion without right feeling will only make false and wicked women who put appearances in the place of virtue.

It is, therefore, important to cultivate a faculty which serves as judge between the two guides, which does not permit conscience to go astray and corrects the errors of prejudice. That faculty is reason... The reason which teaches a man his duties is not very complex; the reason which teaches a woman hers is even simpler. The obedience and fidelity which she owes to her husband, the tenderness and care due to her children, are such natural and self-evident consequences of her position that she cannot honestly refuse her consent to the inner voice which is her guide, nor fail to discern her duty in her natural inclination... Since she depends both on her own conscience and on public opinion, she must learn to know and reconcile these two laws, and to put her own conscience first only when the two are opposed to each other. She becomes the judge of her own judges, she decides when she should obey and when she should refuse her obedience...

Self-possession, penetration, delicate observation, this is a woman’s science; the skill to make use of it is her chief accomplishment...Consult their eyes, their color, their breathing, their timid manner, their slight resistance, that is the language nature gave them for your answer... Will she tell the shepherd who pursues her among the willows that she only flees that he may follow? If she did, it would be a lie; for she would no longer attract him. The more modest a woman is, the more art she needs, even with her husband. Yes, I maintain that coquetry, kept within bounds, becomes modest and true, and out of it springs a law of right conduct...

We are quick to see our duty if we love it. Honor your position as a woman, and in whatever station of life to which it shall please heaven to call you, you will be well off. The essential thing is to be what nature has made you; women are only too ready to be what men would have them.

The search for abstract and speculative truths, for principles and axioms in science, for all that tends to wide generalization, is beyond a woman’s grasp; their studies should be thoroughly practical. It is their business to apply the principles discovered by men, it is their place to make the observations which lead men to discover those principles. A woman’s thoughts, beyond the range of her immediate duties, should be directed to the study of men, or the acquirement of that agreeable learning whose sole end is the formation of taste; for the works of genius are beyond her reach, and she has neither the accuracy nor the attention for success in the exact sciences; as for the physical sciences, to decide the relations between living creatures and the laws of nature is the task of that sex which is more active and enterprising, which sees more things, that sex which is possessed of greater strength and is more accustomed to the exercise of that strength. Woman, weak as she is and limited in her range of observation, perceives and judges the forces at her disposal to supplement her weakness, and those forces are the passions of man. Her own mechanism is more powerful than ours; she has many levers which may set the human heart in motion. She must find a way to make us desire what she cannot achieve unaided and what she considers necessary or pleasing; therefore she must have a thorough knowledge of man’s mind; not an abstract knowledge of the mind of man in general, but the mind of those men who are about her, either by law or custom. She must learn to divine their feelings from speech and action, look and gesture. By her own speech and action, look and gesture, she must be able to inspire them with the feelings she desires, without seeming to have any such purpose. The men will have a better philosophy of the human heart, but she will read more accurately in the heart of men. Woman should discover, so to speak, an experimental morality, man should reduce it to a system. Woman has more wit, man more genius; woman observes, man reasons; together they provide the clearest light and profoundest knowledge which is possible to the unaided human mind; in a word, the surest knowledge of self and of others of which the human race is capable. In this way art may constantly tend to the perfection of the instrument which nature has given us...

Mothers, let your daughters be your companions. Give them good sense and an honest heart, and then conceal from them nothing that a pure eye may behold. Balls, assemblies, sports, the theater itself; everything which viewed amiss delights imprudent youth may be safely displayed to a healthy mind. The more they know of these noisy pleasures, the sooner they will cease to desire them... before you showed them this deceitful prospect did you prepare them to behold it without emotion? Did you tell them plainly what it was they would see? Did you show it in its true light? Did you arm them against the illusions of vanity? Did you inspire their young hearts with a taste for the true pleasures which are not to be met with in this tumult?...Your own example is their teacher. Young people on their entrance into society have no guide but their mother, who is often just as silly as they are themselves, and quite unable to show them things except as she sees them herself. Her example is stronger than reason; it justifies them in their own eyes, and the mother’s authority is an unanswerable excuse for the daughter. If I ask a mother to bring her daughter into society, I assume that she will show it in its true light...

The charms of a peaceful family life must be known to be enjoyed; their delights should be tasted in childhood. It is only in our father’s home that we learn to love our own, and a woman whose mother did not educate her herself will not be willing to educate her own children. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as home education in our large towns... Girls are compelled to assume an air of propriety so that men may be deceived into marrying them by their appearance. But watch these young people for a moment; under a pretense of coyness they barely conceal the passion which devours them, and already you may read in their eager eyes their desire to imitate their mothers. It is not a husband they want, but the license of a married woman... There is modesty on the brow, but vice in the heart; this sham modesty is one of its outward signs; they affect it that they may be rid of it once for all. Women of Paris and London, forgive me! There may be miracles everywhere, but I am not aware of them...

Young women brought up in the country are soon taught to despise the happy simplicity of their lives, and hasten to Paris to share the corruption of ours. Vices, cloaked under the fair name of accomplishments, are the sole object of their journey; ashamed to find themselves so much behind the noble license of the Parisian ladies, they hasten to become worthy of the name of Parisian... I would not have a sensible mother bring her girl to Paris to show her these sights so harmful to others; but I assert that if she did so, either the girl has been badly brought up, or such sights have little danger for her. With good taste, good sense, and a love of what is right, these things are less attractive than to those who abandon themselves to their charms... Fools make a stir; good women pass unnoticed...

You can do this without preaching endless sermons to your daughters, without crediting them with your harsh morality. The only effect of such teaching is to inspire a dislike for the teacher and the lessons... Is it so hard to win love by love, happiness by an amiable disposition, obedience by worth, and honor by self-respect?... a woman’s empire begins with her virtues; her charms are only in the bud, yet she reigns already by the gentleness of her character and the dignity of her modesty... Alas for the age whose women lose their ascendancy, and fail to make men respect their judgment! This is the last stage of degradation...

No doubt a girl brought up to goodness and piety has strong weapons against temptation; but one whose heart, or rather her ears, are merely filled with the jargon of piety, will certainly fall a prey to the first skillful seducer who attacks her...

If you would inspire young people with a love of good conduct avoid saying, “Be good;” make it their interest to be good; make them feel the value of goodness and they will love it. It is not enough to show this effect in the distant future, show it now, in the relations of the present, in the character of their lovers. Describe a good man, a man of worth, teach them to recognize him when they see him, to love him for their own sake; convince them that such a man alone can make them happy as friend, wife, or mistress. Let reason lead the way to virtue; make them feel that the empire of their sex and all the advantages derived from it depend not merely on the right conduct, the morality, of women, but also on that of men; that they have little hold over the vile and base, and that the lover is incapable of serving his mistress unless he can do homage to virtue...A bold, shameless, intriguing woman, who can only attract her lovers by coquetry and retain them by her favors, wins a servile obedience in common things; in weighty and important matters she has no influence over them. But the woman who is both virtuous, wise, and charming, she who in a word, combines love and esteem, can send them at her bidding to the end of the world, to war, to glory, and to death at her behest. This is a fine kingdom and worth the winning.

This is the spirit in which Sophy has been educated, she has been trained carefully rather than strictly, and her taste has been followed rather than thwarted... I cannot repeat too often that I am not dealing with prodigies. Emile is not prodigy, neither is Sophy. He is a man and she is a woman; this is all they have to boast of. In the present confusion between the sexes it is almost a miracle to belong to one’s own sex.

Sophy is well born and she has a good disposition; she is very warm-hearted, and this warmth of heart sometimes makes her imagination run away with her. Her mind is keen rather than accurate, her temper is pleasant but variable, her person pleasing though nothing out of the common, her countenance bespeaks a soul and it speaks true; you may meet her with indifference, but you will not leave her without emotion. Others possess which she lacks; others possess her good qualities in a higher degree, but in no one are these qualities better blended to form a happy disposition. She knows how to make the best of her very faults, and if she were more perfect she would be less pleasing.

Sophy is fond of dress, and she knows how to dress; her mother has no other maid; she has taste enough to dress herself well; but she hates rich clothes; her own are always simple but elegant. She doe not know what colors are fashionable, but she makes no mistake about those that suit her. No girl seems more simply dressed, but no one could take more pains over her toilet; no article is selected at random, and yet there is no trace of artificiality. Her dress is very modest in appearance and very coquettish in reality; she does not display her charms, she conceals them, but in such a way as to enhance them. When you see her you say, “That is a good modest girl,” but while you are with her, you cannot take your eyes or your thoughts off her, and one might say that this very simple adornment is only put on to be removed bit by bit by the imagination.

Sophy has natural gifts; she is aware of them, and they have not been neglected; but never having had a chance of much training she is content to use her pretty voice to sing tastefully and truly; her little feet step lightly, easily, and gracefully, she can always make an easy graceful courtesy. She has had no singing master but her father, no dancing mistress but her mother; a neighboring organist has given her a few lessons in playing accompaniments on the spinet, and she has improved herself by practice. At first she only wished to show off her hand on the dark keys; then she discovered that the thin clear tone of the spinet made her voice sound sweeter; little by little she recognized the charms of harmony; as she grew older she at last began to enjoy the charms of expression, to love music for its own sake. But she has taste rather than talent; she cannot read a simple air from notes.

Needlework is what Sophy likes best; and the feminine arts have been taught her most carefully, even those you would not expect such as cutting out and dressmaking. There is nothing she cannot do with her needle, and nothing that she does not take a delight in doing; but lace-making is her favorite occupation, because there is nothing which requires such a pleasing attitude, nothing which calls for such grace and dexterity of finger. She has also studied all the details of housekeeping; she understands cooking and cleaning; she knows the prices of food, and also how to choose it; she can keep accounts accurately, she is her mother’s housekeeper. Some day she will be the mother of a family; by managing her father’s house she is preparing to manage her own; she can take the place of any of the servants and she is always ready to do so. You cannot give orders unless you can do the work yourself; that is why her mother sets her to do it. Sophy does not think of that; her first duty is to be a good daughter, and that is all she thinks about for the present. Her one idea is to help her mother and relieve her of some of her anxieties. However, she does not like them all equally well. For instance, she likes dainty food, but she does not like cooking; the details of cookery offend her, and things are never clean enough for her. She is extremely sensitive in this respect and carries her sensitiveness to a fault; she would let the whole dinner boil over into the fire rather than soil her cuffs. She has always disliked inspecting the kitchen-garden for the same reason. The soil is dirty, and as soon as she sees the manure heap she fancies there is a disagreeable smell...Yet this has not degenerated into mere affection and softness; there is none of the over refinement of luxury. Nothing but clean water enters her room; she knows no perfumes but the scent of flowers... Sophy is more than clean, she is pure... In all things she likes what is good, and knows how to appreciate it; but she can also put up with what is not so good, or can go without it.

Sophy’s mind is pleasing but not brilliant, and thorough but not deep; it is the sort of mind which calls for no remark, as she never seems cleverer or stupider than oneself. When people talk to her they always find what she says attractive, though it may not be highly ornamental according to modern ideas of an educated woman; her mind has been formed not only by reading, but by conversation with her father and mother, by her own reflections, and by her own observations in the little world in which she has lived...

Sophy is too sensitive to be always good humored, but too gentle to let this be really disagreeable to other people; it is only herself who suffers. If you say anything that hurts her she does not sulk, but her heart swells; she tries to run away and cry. In the midst of her tears, at a word from her father or mother she returns at once laughing and playing, secretly wiping her eyes and trying to stifle her sobs.

Yet she has her whims; if her temper is too much indulged it degenerates into rebellion, and then she forgets herself. But giver her time to come round and her way of making you forget her wrong-doing is almost a virtue. If you punish her she is gentle and submissive, and you see that she is more ashamed of the fault than the punishment...

Sophy’s religion is reasonable and simple, with few doctrines and fewer observances; or rather as she knows no course of conduct but the right her whole life is devoted to the service of God and to doing good... Sophy loves virtue; this love has come to be her ruling passion; she loves virtue because there is nothing fairer in itself, she loves it because it is a woman’s glory and because a virtuous woman is little lower than the angels; she loves virtue as the only road to real happiness, because she sees nothing but poverty, neglect, unhappiness, shame, and disgrace in the life of a bad woman; she loves virtue because it is dear to her revered father and to her tender and worthy mother; they are not content to be happy in their own virtue, they desire hers; and she finds her chief happiness in the hope of making them happy...

Sophy is not so fortunate as to be a charming French woman, cold-hearted and vain, who would rather attract attention than give pleasure, who seeks amusement rather than delight. She suffers from a consuming desire for love; it even disturbs and troubles her heart in the midst of festivities; she has lost her former liveliness, and her taste for merry games; far from being afraid of the tedium of solitude she desires it. her thoughts go out to him who will make solitude sweet to her. She finds strangers tedious, she wants a lover, not a circle of admirers. She would rather give pleasure to one good man than be a general favorite, or win that applause of society which lasts but a day and tomorrow is turned to scorn...

She is extremely careful what she says about those who are absent, particularly if they are women... A happy disposition does more for her than much art. She has a certain courtesy of her own, which is not dependent on fashion, and does not change with its changes; it is not a matter of custom, but it arises from a feminine desire to please... She responds to an attention or a customary piece of politeness by a courtesy or a mere “Thank you;” but this phrase in her mouth is quite enough. If you do her a real service, she lets her heart speak and its words are no empty compliment. She has never allowed French manners to make her a slave to appearances... She has an utter contempt for the jargon of gallantry, which she considers an insult to her sex. She feels sure that the man she seeks does not speak that jargon, and she will never permit in another what would be displeasing to her in him whose character is engraved on her heart... Ask you lady-killers if it is easy to continue to babble to such an unsympathetic ear...

With a judgment so mature, and a mind like that of a woman of twenty, Sophy, at fifteen, is no longer treated as a child by her parents... “You are a big girl now, Sophy, you will soon be a woman. We want you to be happy, for our own sakes as well as yours, for our happiness depends on yours. A good girl finds her own happiness in the happiness of a good man, so we must consider your marriage; we must think of it in good time, for marriage makes or mars our whole life, and we cannot have too much time to consider it.

“There is nothing so hard to choose as a good husband, unless it is a good wife. You will be that rare creature, Sophy, you will be the crown of our life and the blessing of our declining years... Perfect happiness is not to be found in this world, but we can, at least, avoid the worst form of unhappiness, that for which ourselves are to blame...

“Your mother had rank, I had wealth; this was all that our parents considered in arranging our marriage. I lost my money, she lost her position; forgotten by her family, what good did it do her to be a lady born? In the midst of our misfortunes, the union of our hearts has outweighed them all; the similarity of our tastes led ut to choose this retreat; we live happily in our poverty, we are all in all to each other... the conventional motives which brought about our marriage no longer exist, our happiness consists in that natural suitability which was held of no account...”

“My child, you are good and sensible, upright and pious, you have the accomplishments of a good woman and your are not altogether without charms; but you are poor; you have the gifts most worthy of esteem, but no those which are most esteemed. Do not seek what is beyond your reach, and let your ambition be controlled, not by your ideas or ours, but by the opinion of others... Believe me, Sophy, do not seek those good things we indeed thank heaven for having taken from us; we did not know what happiness was till we lost our money...”

“You will be sought in marriage, it may be by those who are unworthy of you. If they showed themselves in their true colors, you would rate them at their real value; all their outward show would not long deceive you; but though your judgment is good and you know what merit is when you see it, you are inexperienced and you do not know how people can conceal their real selves. A skillful knave might study your tastes in order to seduce you, and make a pretense of those virtues which he does not possess. You would be ruined, Sophy, before you knew what you were doing... My child, I trust you to Sophy’s own reason; I do not trust you to the fancies of your own heart. Judge for yourself so long as your heart is untouched, but when you love, betake yourself to your mother’s care...”

“The husband suitable for you should be chosen by you not us. But it is for us to judge whether he is really suitable, or whether, without knowing it, you are only following your own wishes. Birth, wealth, position, conventional opinions will count for nothing with us. Choose a good man whose person and character suit you; whatever he may be in other respects, we will accept him as our son-in-law. he will be rich enough if he has bodily strength, a good character, and family affection. His position will be good enough if it is ennobled by virtue. If everybody blames us, we do not care. We do not seek the approbation of men, but your happiness...”

What was said will remain engraved upon her heart as long as she lives, and that if any human resolution may be trusted, we may rely on her determination to deserve her parent’s esteem... She would rather a virgin martyr than distress her parents by marrying a worthless man and exposing herself to the unhappiness of an ill-assorted marriage... After the conversation related above, her father and mother thought that suitable husbands would not be likely to offer themselves in the hamlet where they lived; so they decided to send her to spend the winter in town, under the care of an aunt who was privately acquainted with the object of the journey...

In response to her parents’ wishes her aunt introduced her to her friends, took her into company, both private and public, showed her society, or rather showed her in society, for Sophy paid little heed to its bustle. Yet it was plain that she did not shrink from young men of pleasing appearance and modest seemly behavior... Sophy did not find what she sought, and she felt sure she never would, so she got tired of the town. She loved her parents dearly and nothing made up for their absence, nothing could make her forget them; she went home long before the time fixed for the end of her visit.

Scarcely had she resumed her home duties when they perceived that her temper had changed though her conduct was unaltered, she was forgetful, impatient, sad, and dreamy; she wept in secret. At first they thought she was in love and was ashamed to own it; they spoke to her, but she repudiated the idea. She protested she had seen no one who could touch her heart, and Sophy always spoke the truth...

If it were only a question of the partner of her youth, her choice would soon be made; but a master for life is not so easily chosen; and since the two cannot be separated, people must often wait and sacrifice their youth before they find the man with whom they could spend their life. Such was Sophy’s case; she wanted a lover, but this lover must be her husband; and to discover a heart such as she required, a lover and husband were equally difficult to find. All these dashing young men were only her equals in age, in everything else they were found lacking; their empty wit, their vanity, their affectations of speech, their ill-regulated conduct, their frivolous imitations alike disgusted her. She sought a man and she found monkeys; she sought a soul and there was none to find.

“How unhappy I am!” said she to her mother; “I am compelled to love and yet I am dissatisfied with every one. My heart rejects every one who appeals to my senses... She can love no other; she can make no one happy but him, and she cannot be happy without him... She would rather die than live to suffer.”

Her mother urged her to speak; she hesitated, she yielded, and leaving the room without a word, she presently returned with a book in her hand. “Have pity on your unhappy daughter, there is no remedy for her grief, her tears cannot be dried. You would know the cause: well, here it is,” said she, flinging the book on the table. Her mother took the book and opened it; it was The Adventures of Telemachus...

Sophy was in love with Telemachus, and loved him with a passion which nothing could cure. When her father and mother became aware of her infatuation, they laughed at it and tried to cure her by reasoning with her. They were mistaken, reason was not altogether on their side; Sophy had her own reason and knew how to use it... “Give me,” said she, “a man who holds the same opinions as I do, or one who will be willing to learn them from me, and I will marry him; but until then, why do you scold me? Pity me; I am miserable, but not mad. Is the heart controlled by the will?... Is it my fault if I love what has no existence? I am no visionary; I desire no prince, I seek no Telemachus, I know he is only an imaginary person; I seek some one like him. And why should there be no such person, since there is such a person as I, I who feel that my heart is like his? No, let us not wrong humanity so greatly, let us not think that an amiable and virtuous man is a figment of the imagination. He exists, he lives, perhaps he is seeking me; he is seeking a soul which is capable of love for him. But who is he, where is he? I know not; he is not among those I have seen; and no doubt I shall never see him. Oh! Mother, why did you make virtue too attractive? If I can love nothing less, you are more to blame than I...”

Let us give Emile his Sophy; let us restore this sweet girl to life and provide her with a less vivid imagination and a happier fate... Sophy has only a good disposition and an ordinary heart; her education is responsible for everything in which she excels other women... We can only make a match by introducing them to each other to see if they suit each other in every respect, or at least we can let them make that choice which gives the most promise of mutual suitability.

The difficulty is this: while social life develops character it differentiates classes, and these two classifications do not correspond, so that the greater the social distinctions, the greater the difficulty of finding the corresponding character... Neither master nor slave belongs to a family, but only to a class... Consult nature. Do not join together those who are only alike in one given condition, those who will not suit one another if that condition is changed; but those who are adapted to one another in every situation, in every country, and in every rank in which they may be placed... I maintain indeed that every possible misfortune may overtake husband and wife if they mingle their tears, than if they possessed all the riches of the world, poisoned by divided hearts...

Do not suppose, however, that I have delayed to find a wife or Emile till I sent him in search of her. This search is only a pretext for acquainting him with women, so that he may perceive the value of a suitable wife. Sophy was discovered long since; Emile may even have seen her already, but he will not recognize her till the time is come... It makes a considerable difference as to the suitability of a marriage whether a man marries above or beneath him... When he marries into a lower rank, a man does not lower himself, he raises his wife; if, on the other hand, he marries above his position, he lowers his wife and does not raise himself...

I expect that many of my readers will remember that I think women have a natural gift for managing men, and will accuse me of contradicting myself; yet they are mistaken. There is a vast difference between claiming the right to command, and managing him who commands. Woman’s reign in the home as a minister reigns in the state, by contriving to be ordered to do what she wants. In this sense, I grant you, that the best managed homes are those where the wife has most power. But when she despises the voice of her head, when she desires to usurp his rights and take the command upon herself, this inversion of the proper order of things leads only to misery, scandal, and dishonor...

In both sexes alike I am only aware of two really distinct classes, those who think and those who do not; and this difference is almost entirely one of education. A man who thinks should not ally himself with a woman who does not think, for he loses the chief delight of social life if he has a wife who cannot share his thoughts. People who spend their whole life in working for a living have no ideas beyond their work and their own interests, and their mind seems to reside in their arms... Conscience is the most enlightened philosopher...

Moreover, if a woman is quite unaccustomed to think, how can she bring up her children? How will she know what is good for them? How can she incline them to virtues of which she is ignorant, to merit of which she has no conception? She can only flatter or threaten, she can only make them insolent or timid; she will make them performing monkeys or noisy little rascals; she will never make them intelligent or pleasing children.

Therefore it is not fitting that a man of education should choose a wife who has none, or take her from a class where she cannot be expected to have any education. But I would a thousand times rather have a homely girl, simply brought up, than a learned lady... From the lofty height of her genius she scorns every womanly duty, and she is always trying to make a man of herself... These highly talented women only get a hold over fools...

Looks must next be considered; they are the first thing that strikes us and they ought to be the last, still they should not count for nothing. I think that great beauty is rather to be shunned than sought after in marriage. Possession soon exhausts our appreciation of beauty; in six weeks’ time we think no more about it, but its dangers endure as long as life itself. Unless a beautiful woman is an angel, her husband is the most miserable of men; and even if she were an angel he would still be the center of a hostile crowd and she could not prevent it. If extreme ugliness were not repulsive I should prefer it to extreme beauty; for before very long the husband would cease to notice either, but beauty would still have its disadvantages and ugliness its advantages. But ugliness which is actually repulsive is the worst misfortune; repulsion increases rather than diminishes, and it turns to hatred. Such a union is a hell upon earth; better death than such a marriage... Charm is less perishable than beauty; it is a living thing, which constantly renews itself, and after thirty years of married life, the charms of a good woman delight her husband even as they did on the wedding day.

Such are the considerations which decided my choice of Sophy. Brought up, like Emile, by Nature, she is better suited to him than any other; she will be his true mate. She is his equal in birth and character, his inferior in fortune. She makes no great impression at first sight, but day by day reveals fresh charms. Her chief influence only takes effect gradually, it is only discovered in friendly intercourse; and her husband will feel it more than any one. Her education is neither showy nor neglected; she has taste without deep study, talent without art, judgment without learning. Her mind knows little, but it is trained to learn; it is well-tilled soil ready for the sower... She will not be her husband’s teacher but his scholar; far from seeking to control his tastes, she will share them. She will suit him far better than a blue-stocking and he will have the pleasure of teaching her everything. It is time they made acquaintance; let us try to plan a meeting.

When we left Paris we were sorrowful and wrapped in thought. This Babel is not our home. Emile casts a scornful glance towards the great city, saying angrily, “What a time we have wasted; the bride of my heart is not there. My friend, you know it, but you think nothing of my time, and you pay no heed to my sufferings.” With steady look and firm voice I reply, “Emile, do you mean what you say?” At once he flings his arms round my neck and clasps me to his breast without speaking. That is his answer when he knows he is in the wrong.

And now we are wandering through the country like true knights-errant; yet we are not seeking adventures when we leave Paris; we are escaping from them... Men say life is short, and I see them doing their best to shorten it. As they do not know how to spend their time they lament the swiftness of its flight, and I perceive that for them it goes only too slowly... A man spends his whole life rushing from Paris to Versailles, from Versailles to Paris, from town to country, from country to town, from one district of the town to another; but he would not know what to do with his time if he had not discovered this way of wasting it, by leaving his business on purpose to find something to do in coming back to it; he thinks he is saving the time he speeds, which would otherwise be unoccupied; or maybe he rushes for the sake of rushing...

So we do not travel like couriers but like explorers. We do not merely consider the beginning and the end, but the space between. The journey itself is a delight... I can only think of one way of traveling pleasanter than traveling on horseback, and that is to travel on foot. Your town-bred scientists study natural history in cabinets; they have small specimens; they know their names but nothing of their nature. Emile’s museum is richer than that of kings; it is the whole world...

We came across a peasant who took us to his cottage; we enjoyed his poor dinner with a hearty appetite. When he saw how hungry and tired we were he said, “If the Lord had led you to the other side of the hill you would have had a better welcome, you would have found a good resting place, such good, kindly people! They could not wish to do more for you than I, but they are richer, though folks say they used to be much better off. Still they are not reduced to poverty, and the whole country-side is the better for what they have.”

When Emile heard of these good people his heart warmed to them. “My friend,” said he, looking at me, “let us visit this house, whose owners are a blessing to the district; I shall be very glad to see them; perhaps they will be pleased to see us too; I am sure we shall be welcome; we shall just suit each other.”

Our host told us how to find our way to the house and we set off, but lost our way in the woods. We were caught in a heavy rainstorm, which delayed us further. At last we found the right path and in the evening we reached the house, which had been described to us. It was the only house among the cottage of the little hamlet, and though plain it had an air of dignity. We went up to the door and asked for hospitality...

The room we were shown into was very small, but clean and comfortable; a fire was lighted, and we found line, clothes, and everything we needed. “Why,” said Emile, in astonishment, “one would think they were expecting us. The peasant was quite right; how kind and attentive, how considerate, and for strangers too!... You need not be surprised; where strangers are scarce, they are welcome; nothing makes people more hospitable than the fact that calls upon their hospitality are rare; when guests are frequent there is an end to hospitality...

Having dried ourselves and changed our clothes, we rejoined the master of the house, who introduced us to his wife; she received us not merely with courtesy but with kindness. Her glance rested on Emile. A mother, in her position, rarely receives a young man into her house without some anxiety or some curiosity at least.

Supper was hurried forward on our account.. When we went into the dining-room there were five places laid; we took our seats and the fifth chair remained empty. Presently a young girl entered, made a deep courtesy, and modestly took her place without a word. Emile was busy with his supper or considering how to reply to what was said to him; he bowed to her and continued talking and eating... “Sire,” said the master of the house to Emile, “you seem to be a pleasant well-behaved young gentleman, and that reminds me that your tutor and you arrived wet and weary like Telemachus and Mentor in the island of Calypso.” “Indeed,” said Emile, “we have found the hospitality of Calypso

.” His Mentor added, “And the charms of Eucharis.” But Emile knew the Odyssey and he had not read Telemachus, so he knew nothing of Eucharis. As for the young girl, I saw she blushed up to her eyebrows, fixed her eyes on her plate, and hardly dared to breathe. Her mother, noticing her confusion, made a sign to her father to turn the conversation. When he talked of his lonely life, he unconsciously began to relate the circumstances which brought him into it;p his misfortunes, his wife’s fidelity, the consolations they found in their marriage, their quiet, peaceful life in their retirement, and all this without a word of the young girl; it is a pleasing and a touching story, which cannot fail to interest. Emile, interested and sympathetic, leaves off eating and listens... The young girl, seeing him weep, is ready to mingle her tears with his...

Her mother, who has been watching her ever since she sat down to supper, sees her distress, and to relieve it she sends her on some errand. The daughter returns directly, but so little recovered that her distress, and to relieve it she sends her on some errand. The daughter returns directly, but so little recovered that her distress is apparent to all. Her mother says gently, “Sophy, control yourself; will you never cease to weep for the misfortunes of your parents? Why should you, who are their chief comfort, be more sensitive than they are themselves?”

At the name of Sophy you would have seen Emile give a start. His attention is arrested by this dear name, and he awakes all at once and looks eagerly at one who dares to bear it. Sophy! Are you the Sophy whom my heart is seeking? Is it you that I love? He looks at her; he watches her with a sort of fear and self-distrust. The face is not quite what he pictured; he cannot tell whether he likes it more or less. He studies every feature, he watches every movement, every gesture; he has a hundred fleeting interpretations for them all; he would give half his life if she would but speak...

There is no one in the world less able to conceal his feelings than Emile. How should he conceal them, in the midst of the greatest disturbance he has ever experienced, and under the eyes of four spectators who are all watching him, while she who seems to heed him least is really most occupied with him. His uneasiness does not escape the keen eyes of Sophy; his own eyes tell her that she is its cause; she sees that this uneasiness is not yet love; what matter? He is thinking of her, and that is enough; she will be very unlucky if he things of her with impunity.

Mothers, like daughters, have eyes; and they have experience too. Sophy’s mother smiles at the success of our schemes. She reads the hearts of the young people; she sees that the time has come to secure the heart of this new Telemachus; she makes her daughter speak. Her daughter, with her native sweetness, replies in a timid tone which makes all the more impression. At the first sound of her voice, Emile surrenders; it is Sophy herself; there can be no doubt about it. If it were not so, it would be too late to deny it.

The charms of this maiden enchantress rush like torrents through his heart, and he begins to drain the draughts of poison with which he is intoxicated. He says nothing; questions pass unheeded; he sees only Sophy, he hears only Sophy; if she says a word, he opens his mouth; if her eyes are cast down, so are his; if he sees her sigh, he sighs too; it is Sophy’s heart which seems to speak in his. What a change have these few moments wrought in her heart! It is no longer her turn to tremble, it is Emile’s. Farewell liberty, simplicity, frankness. Confused, embarrassed, fearful, he dare not look about him for fear he should see that we are watching him. Ashamed that we should read his secret, he would fain become invisible to every one, that he might feed in secret on the sight of Sophy. Sophy, on the other hand, regains her confidence at the sight of Emile’s fear; she sees her triumph and rejoices in it. “No’l mostra gia, ben che in suo cor ne rida.” (Tasso, Jerus, Del., c. iv. v. 33) Her expression remains unchanged; but in spite of her modest look and downcast eyes, her tender heart is throbbing with joy, and it tells her that she has found Telemachus...

Works on education are crammed with wordy and unnecessary accounts of the imaginary duties of children; but there is not a word about the most important and most difficult part of their education, the crisis which forms the bridge between the child and the man... If my book is a romance, the fault lies with those who deprave mankind...

This is no time for teaching, and what I say will receive scant attention. It only serves to stimulate Emile to further interest in Sophy, through his desire to find reasons for his fancy. The unexpected coincidence in the name, the meeting which, so far as he knows, was quite accidental, my very caution itself, only serve as fuel to the fire. He is so convinced already of Sophy’s excellence, that he feels sure he can make me fond of her.

Next morning I have no doubt Emile will make himself as smart as his old traveling suit permits... I expected to find Sophy rather more carefully dressed too; but I was mistaken... Sophy is dressed, if possible, more simply than last night, though as usual her frock is exquisitely clean. The only sign of coquetry is her self-consciousness. She knows that an elaborate toilet is a sign of love, but she does not know that a careless toilet is another of its signs; it shows a desire to be liked not merely for one’s clothes but for oneself...

We may take it for granted that while Emile and I were talking last night, Sophy and her mother were not silent; a confession was made and instructions given. The morning’s meeting is not unprepared. Twelve hours ago our young people had never met; they have never said a word to each other; but it is clear that there is already an understanding between them. Their greeting is formal, confused, timid; they say nothing, their downcast eyes seem to avoid each other, but that is in itself a sign that they understand... When we depart we ask leave to come again to return the borrowed clothes in person. Emile’s words are addressed to the father and mother, but his eyes seek Sophy’s, and his looks are more eloquent than his words. Sophy says nothing by word or gesture; she seems deaf and blind, but she blushes, and that blush is an answer even plainer than that of her parents.

We receive permission to come again, though we are not invited to stay. This is only fitting; you offer shelter to benighted travelers, but a lover does not sleep in the house of his mistress... Is he not aware that the least breath of scandal with regard to a young girl is an indelible stain, which not even marriage with him who has caused the scandal can efface? What man of feeling would ruin the women he loves?... We must therefore seek a lodging at a distance, but not too far. We look about us, we make inquiries; we find that there is a town at least two leagues away...

My course is drawing to a close; the end is in view. All the chief difficulties are vanquished, the chief obstacles overcome; the hardest thing left to do is to refrain from spoiling my work by undue haste to complete it...

Consider my Emile over twenty years of age, well formed, well developed in mind and body, strong, healthy, active, skillful, robust, full of sense, reason, kindness, humanity, possessed of good morals and good taste, loving what is beautiful, doing what is good, free from the sway of fierce passions, but subject to the law of wisdom, and easily guided by the voice of a friend; gifted with so many useful and pleasant accomplishments, caring little for wealth, able to earn a living with his own hands, and not afraid of want, whatever may come. Behold him in the intoxication of a growing passion; his heart opens to the first beams of love; its pleasant fancies reveal to him a whole world of new delights and enjoyments; he loves a sweet woman, whose character is even more delightful than her person; he hopes, he expects the reward which he deserves...

He is as happy as man can be. Shall I choose this time to cut short so sweet a period? Shall I disturb such pure enjoyment? The happiness he enjoys is my life’s reward... That supreme joy is a hundredfold greater in anticipation than in possession; its savor is greater while we wait for it than when it is ours. O worthy Emile! Love and be loved! Prolong your enjoyment before it is yours; rejoice in your love and in your innocence, find your paradise upon earth, while you await your heaven...

Emile has not forgotten that we have something to return. As soon as the things are ready, we take horse and set off at a great pace, for on this occasion he is anxious to get there... We are there at last! Our reception is much simpler and more friendly than on the previous occasion; we are already old acquaintances. Emile and Sophy bow shyly and say nothing; what can they say in our presence? What they wish to say requires no spectators. We walk I the garden; a well-kept kitchen garden takes the place of flower beds, the park is an orchard full of fine tall fruit trees of every kind, divided by pretty streams and borders full of flowers...

We continue our walk, the young people at first keeping close beside us; but they find it hard to adapt themselves to our slower pace, and presently they are a little in front of us, they are walking side by side, they begin to talk, and before long they are a good way ahead. Sophy seems to be listening quietly, Emile is talking and gesticulating vigorously; they seem to find their conversation interesting. When we turn homewards a full hour later, we call them to us and they return slowly enough now, and we can see they are making good use of their time. Their conversation ceases suddenly before they come within earshot, and they hurry up to us. Emile meets us with a frank affectionate expression; his eyes are sparkling with joy; yet he looks anxiously at Sophy’s mother to see how she takes it. Sophy is not nearly so much at her ease... She runs up to her mother, somewhat out of breath, and makes some trivial remark, as if to pretend she had been with her for some time.

From the happy expression of these dear children we see that this conversation has taken a load off their hearts... Emile ventures to say a few words to her, she ventures to reply, but she always looks at her mother before she dares to answer. The most remarkable change is in her attitude towards me. She shows me the greatest respect, she watches me with interest, she takes pains to please me; I see that I am honored with her esteem, and that she is not indifferent to mine...

Our visit is repeated. There are frequent conversations between the young people. Emile is madly in love and thinks that his happiness is within his grasp. Yet he does not succeed in winning any formal avowal from Sophy; she listens to what he says and answers nothing. Emile knows how modest she is, and is not surprised at her reticence; he feels sure that she likes him; he knows that parents decide whom their daughters shall marry; he supposes that Sophy is awaiting her parents’ commands... He is immensely surprised to hear that Sophy is her own mistress, that his happiness depends on her alone. He begins to be puzzled by her conduct. He is less self-confident, he takes alarm, he sees that he has not made so much progress as he expected, and then it is that his love appeals to her I the tenderest and most moving language...

She has not forgotten her parents teaching. She is poor; Emile is rich; so much she knows. He must win her esteem; his deserts must be great indeed to remove this inequality. But how should he perceive these obstacles? Is Emile aware that he is rich? ... The good he does comes from his heart, not his purse...Her glance is enough to disarm and terrify him; he is more submissive than he used to be... She takes an interest in me, that I am sure; far from avoiding me she is pleased to see me; when I come she shows signs of pleasure, when I go she shows regret; she receives my attention kindly, my services seem to give her pleasure, she condescends to give me her advice and even her commands...

I speak to Sophy, and have no difficulty in getting her to confide her secret to me, a secret which was known to me already. It is not so easy to get permission to tell Emile; but at last she gives leave and I tell him what is the matter. He cannot get over his surprise at this explanation... He is so wild with delight that he wants to be off at once to tear up his title deeds and renounce his money...

“Do you really think she is afraid of wealth, and that she is opposed to great possessions in themselves? No, dear Emile, there are more serious and substantial grounds for her opinion, in the effect produced by wealth on its possessor. She knows that those who are possessed of fortune’s gifts are apt to place them first. The rich always put wealth before merit... What must you do, Emile, to calm her fears? Let her get to know you better; that is not done in a day. Show her the treasures of your heart, to counterbalance the wealth which is unfortunately yours. Time and constancy will overcome her resistance; let your great and noble feelings make her forget your wealth. Love her, serve her, serve her worthy parents...”

At length Sophy is persuaded, though with some difficulty, to assume the authority of a betrothed, to decide what he shall do, to command instead of to ask, to accept instead of to thank, to control the frequency and the hours of the visits, to forbid him to come till such a day or to stay beyond such an hour... But whatever her commands, they are obeyed without question, and often when at her bidding he is about to leave her, he glances at me his eyes full of delight, as if to say, “You see she has taken possession of me...”

Sophy is fond of singing, he sings with her; he does more, he teaches her music. She is lively and light of foot, she loves skipping; he dances with her, he perfects and develops her untrained movements into the steps of the dance... A lover may enjoy teaching his betrothed-- he has a right to be her teacher... She cultivates her talents, and her grace gives a charm to all she does...

As the idolater gives what he loves best to the shrine of the object of his worship, so the lover is not content to see perfection in his mistress; he must be ever trying to add to her adornment. She does not need it for his pleasure, it is he who needs the pleasure of giving, it is a fresh homage to be rendered to her, a fresh pleasure in the joy of beholding her. Everything of beauty seems to find its place only as an accessory to the supreme beauty. It is both touching and amusing to see Emile eager to teach Sophy everything he knows, without asking whether she wants to learn it or whether it is suitable for her. He talks about all sorts of things and explains them to her with boyish eagerness; he thinks he has only to speak and she will understand; he looks forward to arguing, and discussing philosophy with her; everything he cannot display before her is so much useless learning; he is quite ashamed of knowing more than she.

So he gives her lessons in philosophy, physics, mathematics, history, and everything else. Sophy is delighted to share his enthusiasm and to try and profit by it... Women are no strangers to the art of thinking, but they should only skim the surface of logic and metaphysics... Sometimes in the course of their walks, the spectacle of the wonders of nature bids them not fear to raise their pure and innocent hearts to nature’s God; they are not afraid of His presence, and they pour out their hearts before him... They are perfect in each other’s eyes; they love one another, they are perfect in each other’s eyes; they love one another, they talk eagerly of all that makes virtue worth having. Their sacrifice to virtue make her all the dearer to them. Their struggles after self-control draw from them tears purer than the dew of heaven, and these sweet tears are the joy of life; no human heart has ever experienced a sweeter intoxication. Their very renunciation adds to their happiness, and their sacrifices increase their self-respect...

Emile is in love, but he is not presuming; and you will easily understand that the dignified Sophy is not the sort of girl to allow any kind of familiarity... If she is gracious enough to take his arm when they are out walking, a favor which she will never permit him to claim as a right, it is only occasionally that he dare venture with a sigh to press her hand to his heart... When I consider the folly of worldly maxims, whereby real purity is continually sacrificed to a show of propriety, I understand why speech becomes more refined while the heart becomes more corrupt, and why etiquette is stricter while those who conform to it are most immoral...

Emile, full of love and jealousy, will not be angry, sullen, suspicious, but delicate, sensitive, and timid; he will be more alarmed than vexed; he will think more of securing his lady love than of threatening his rival; he will treat him as an obstacle to be removed if possible from his path, rather than as a rival to be hated; if he hates him, it is not because he presumes to compete with him for Sophy’s affection, but because Emile feels that there is a real danger of losing that affection...he understands that the law of preference rests upon merit only, and that honor depends upon success; he will redouble his efforts to make himself acceptable, and he will probably succeed...

Where is that young man so sternly fashioned, who braved all weathers, who devoted his body to the hardest tasks and his soul to the laws of wisdom; untouched by prejudice or passion, a lover of truth, swayed by reason only, unheeding all that was not hers? Living in softness and idleness he now lets himself be ruled by women; their amusements are the business of his life, their wishes are his laws; a young girl is the arbiter of his fate, he cringes and grovels before her; the earnest Emile is the plaything of a child...

Most of the habits you think you have instilled into children and young people are not really habits at all; they have only been acquired under compulsion, and being followed reluctantly they will be cast off at the first opportunity. However long you remain in prison you never get a taste for prison life; so aversion is increased rather than diminished by habit...

Emile loves Sophy; but what were the charms by which he was first attracted? Sensibility, virtue, and love for things pure and honest. When he loves this love in Sophy, will he cease to feel it himself? And what price did she put upon herself? She required all her lover’s natural feelings-- esteem of what is really good, frugality, simplicity, generous unselfishness, a scorn of pomp and riches. These virtues were Emile’s before love claimed them of him. Is he really changed? He has all the more reason to be himself...

You see that the young man is very far from spending his days with Sophy, and seeing as much of her as he wants. One or two visits a week are all that is permitted, and these visits are often only for the afternoon... He spends much more of his time in longing to see her, or in rejoicing that he has seen her, than he actually spends in her presence... On the days when he does not see Sophy he is not sitting idle at home. He is Emile himself and quite unchanged...his zeal and attention are bestowed on everything that is really useful to everybody; nor does he stop there. He visits the peasants in their homes; inquires into their circumstances, their families, the number of their children, the extent of their holdings, the nature of their produce, their markets, their rights, their burdens, their debts, etc. He gives away very little money, for he knows it is usually ill spent; but he himself directs the use of his money, and makes it helpful to them without distributing it among them. He supplies them with laborers, and often pays them for work done by themselves, on tasks for their own benefit...though he is the benefactor of some and the friend of all, he is none the less their equal. In conclusion, he always does as much good by his personal efforts as by his money...

Along with such occupations there is also the trade we learnt. One day a week at least, and every day when the weather is too bad for country pursuits, Emile and I go to work under a master-joiner. We do not work for show, like people above our trade; we work in earnest like regular workmen...

On her arrival, Sophy sees, at the other end of the shop, a young man in his shirt sleeves, with his hair all untidy, so hard at work that he does not see her; she makes a sign to her mother. Emile, a chisel in one hand and a hammer in the other, is just finishing a mortise; then he saws a piece of wood and places it in the vice in order to polish it. The sight of this does not set Sophy laughing; if affects her greatly; it wins her respect...

Yet Sophy’s mother questions the master. “Sir, how much do you pay these two men a day?” “I give them each tenpence a day and their food; but if that young fellow wanted he could earn much more, for he is the best workman in the country.” “Tenpence a day and their food,” said she looking at us tenderly. “That is so, madam,” replied the master. At these words she hurries up to Emile, kisses him, and clasps him to her breast with tears; unable to say more she repeats again and again, “My son, my son!”

When they had spent some time chatting with us, but without interrupting our work, “We must be going now,” said the mother to her daughter... Then approaching Emile she tapped him playfully on the cheek, saying, “Well, my good workman, won’t you come with us?” He replied sadly, “I am at work, ask the master.” The master is asked if he can spare us. He replies that he cannot, “I have work on hand,” said he, “which is wanted the day after tomorrow... Emile hung his head in silence...and merely said, “You see I am bound to stay...”

On the way home, the mother, somewhat vexed at his conduct, spoke to her daughter...“Why,” said she, “was it so difficult to arrange matters with the master without being obliged to stay... “Oh, mamma,” replied Sophy, “I trust Emile will never rely so much on money as to use it to break an engagement, to fail to keep his own word, and to make another break his!...he would become accustomed to place wealth before duty, and he would think that any duty might be neglected provided he was ready to pay. That is not Emile’s way of thinking... It was for my sake that he stayed; I saw it in his eyes...”

...“Emile, take this hand; it is yours. When you will, you shall be my husband and my master; I will try to be worthy of that honor...” I will not describe our happiness; everybody will feel with us. After dinner Sophy asked if it were too far to go and see the poor invalids. It was her wish and it was a work of mercy... This fastidious girl was not disgusted by the dirt or smells, and she managed to get rid of both without disturbing the sick people. She who had always appeared so modest and sometimes so disdainful, she who would not for all the world have touched a man’s bed with her little finger, lifted the sick man and changed his linen without any fuss, and placed him to rest in a more comfortable position. The zeal of charity is of more value than modesty...

They longed for their wedding day; they thought it was close at hand... One morning, I entered Emile’s room... “So long as we do not know what to do, wisdom consists in doing nothing. Of all rules there is none so greatly needed by man, and none which he is less able to obey... I kept to the path of nature, until she should show me the path of happiness. And lo! Their paths were the same, and without knowing it this was the path I trod.”

“Be at once my witness and my judge; I will never refuse to accept your decision. Your early years have not been sacrificed to those that were to follow, you have enjoyed all the good gifts which nature bestowed upon you... You ;have never suffered any evil, except to escape a greater. You have known neither hatred nor servitude. Free and happy... When you reached the age of reason, I secured you from the influence of human prejudice; when your heart awoke I preserved you from the sway of passion... a fresh enemy has spread whom you have not yet learnt to conquer, and from whom I cannot save you. That enemy is yourself... you have learnt to desire and now you are the slave of your desires... what pains may you suffer without sickness, how many deaths may you die and yet live! A lie, an error, a suspicion, may plunge you in despair...

“You know how to suffer and to die; you know how to bear the heavy yoke of necessity in ills of the body, but you have not yet learnt to give a law to the desires of your heart; and the difficulties of life arise rather from our affections than from our needs... Everything upon earth has an end; sooner or later all that we love escapes from our fingers, and we behave as if it would last for ever. What was your terror at the mere suspicion of Sophy’s death? Do you suppose she will live for ever? Do not young people of her age die? She must die, my son, and perhaps before you... You possess nothing because of the fear of losing it... How can you sacrifice desire to duty, and resist your heart in order to listen to your reason?... Tell me then what crime will stop a man who has no law but his heart’s desires, who knows not how to resist his own passions.

“My son, there is no happiness without courage, nor virtue without a struggle. The word virtue is derived from a word signifying strength... As long as virtue is quite easy to practice, there is little need to know it. This need arises with the awakening of the passions; your time has come... So far you have had only the semblance of liberty, the precarious liberty of the slave who has not received his orders. Now is the time for real freedom; learn to be your own master; control your heart, my Emile, and you will be virtuous.

“There is another apprenticeship before you, an apprenticeship more difficult than the former... Happy lovers! for you the charms of virtue do but add to those of love; and the blessed union to which you are looking forward is less the reward of your goodness than of your affection. But tell me, O truthful man, though this passion is pure, is it any the less your master?... To feel or not to feel a passion is beyond our control, but we can control ourselves. Every sentiment under our own control is lawful; those which control us are criminal...

“Do not expect me to supply you with lengthy precepts of morality, I have only one rule to give you which sums up all the rest. Be a man; restrain your heart within the limits of your manhood. Study and know these limits; however narrow they may be, we are not unhappy within them... wishes without hope cease to torture us... The illusions of pride are the source of our greatest ills; but the contemplation of human suffering keeps the wise humble... Oh, Emile my son! if I were to lose you, what would be left of myself? And yet I must learn to lose you, for who knows when you may be taken from me?...

“Would you live in wisdom and happiness, fix your heart on the beauty that is eternal... learn to lose what may be taken from you; learn to forsake all things at the command of virtue, to set yourself above the chances of life... Then you will be happy in spite of fortune, and good in spite of your passions. You will find a pleasure that cannot be destroyed...”

Emile heard me with attention not unmixed with anxiety. After such a startling preface he feared some gloomy conclusion... “What must I do?” says he almost trembling, not daring to raise his eyes. “What must you do?” I reply firmly. “You must leave Sophy.” “What are you saying?” he exclaimed angrily. “Leave Sophy, leave Sophy, deceive her, become a traitor, a villain, a perjurer!”...

I was prepared for this first outburst; I let it pass unheeded. If I had not the moderation I preach it would not be much use preaching it! Emile knows me too well to believe me capable of demanding any wrong action from him, and he knows that it would be wrong to leave Sophy, in the sense he attaches to the phrase. So he waits for an explanation. Then I resume my speech.

“My dear Emile, do you think any man whatsoever can be happier than you have been for the last months? If you think so, undeceive yourself. Before tasting the pleasures of life you have plumbed the depths of its happiness. There is nothing more than you have already experienced. The joys of sense are soon over; habit invariably destroys them. You have tasted greater joys through hope than you will ever enjoy in reality... If that state could have lasted for ever, you would have found perfect happiness...

“You wish to marry Sophy and you have only known her five months! You wish to marry her, not because she is a fit wife for you, but because she pleases you; as if love were never mistaken as to fitness, as if those, who begin with love, never ended with hatred! I know she is virtuous; but is that enough?... Is four months of liking a sufficient pledge for the rest of your life?... Sentiments are not a matter of principle; she may be perfectly virtuous and yet cease to love you. I am inclined to think she will be faithful and true; but who will answer for her, and who will answer for you if you are not put to the proof?...

“Sophy is not eighteen, and you are barely twenty-two; this is the age for love, but not for marriage. What a father and mother for a family! If you want to know how to bring up children, you should at least wait till you yourselves are children no longer... Let us speak of yourself. You hope to be a husband and a father; have you seriously considered your duties? When you become the head of a family you will become a citizen of your country. And what is a citizen of the state? What do you know about it? You have studied your duties as a man, but what do you know of the duties of a citizen? Do you know the meaning of such terms as government, laws, country?... Before you take your place in the civil order, learn to perceive and know what is your proper place.

“Emile, you must leave Sophy; I do not bid you forsake her; if you were capable of such conduct, she would be only too happy not to have married you; you must leave her in order to return worthy of her... Unaccustomed to struggle with himself, untrained to desire one thing and to will another, the young man will not give way; he resists, he argues. Why should he refuse the happiness which awaits him? ...Why need he leave her to learn what he ought to know? And if it were necessary to leave her why not leave her as his wife with a certain pledge of his return? Let him be her husband, and he is ready to follow me: let them be married and he will leave her without fear. “Marry her in order to leave her, dear Emile! what a contradiction!... I see delay must be involuntary on your part; you must be able to tell Sophy you leave her against you will. Very well, be content, and since you will not follow the commands of reason, you must submit to another master. You have not forgotten your promise. Emile, you must leave Sophy; I will have it.”

“For a moment or two he was downcast, silent, and thoughtful, then looking me full in the face he said, “When do we start?” “In a week’s time,” I replied; “Sophy must be prepared for our going. Women are weaker than we are, and we must show consideration for them; and this parting is not a duty for her as it is for you, so she may be allowed to bear it less bravely...”

Sophy tries to bear the unforeseen blow with her usual pride and dignity... She weeps, she sighs against her will, and the fear of being forgotten embitters the pain of parting. She does not weep in her lover’s sight, she does not let him see her terror...

...He sees, he feels, he is heartbroken. I drag him reluctantly away; if I left him another minute, he would never go. I am delighted that he should carry this touching picture with him...

Of Travel

Are men the better for having traveled? The misuse of books is the death of sound learning. People think they know what they have read, and take no pains to learn. Too much reading only produces pretentious ignoramus... So many books lead us to neglect the book of the world; if we read it at all, we keep to our own page... To discover the truth amidst our own prejudices and those of the authors is too hard a task...

I maintain that it is beyond dispute that any one who has only seen one nation does not know men; he only knows those men among who he has lived. Hence there is another way of stating the question about travel: “Is it enough for a well-educated man to know his fellow-countrymen, or ought he to know mankind in general?”... He who has compared a dozen nations knows men, just he who has compared a dozen Frenchmen knows the French.

To acquire knowledge it is not enough to travel hastily through a country. Observation demands eyes, and the power of directing them towards the object we desire to know. There are plenty of people who learn no more from their travels than from their books, because they do not know how to think; because in reading their mind is at least under the guidance of the author, and in their travels they do not know how to see for themselves... The information acquired by travel depends upon the object of the journey. If this object is a system of philosophy, the traveler only sees what he desires to see; if it is self-interest, it engrosses the whole attention of those concerned...

It is a good thing to know all the places where we might live, so as to choose those where we can live most comfortably. If everyone lived by his own efforts, all he would need to know would be how much land would keep him in food... Man should begin by studying his fellows; he can study things later if time permits...

Traveling accelerates the progress of nature, and completes the man for good or evil. When a man returns from travelling about the world, he is what he will be all his life; there are more who return bad than good, because there are more who start with an inclination towards evil. In the course of their travels, young people, ill-educated and ill-behaved, pick up all the vices of the nations among whom they have sojourned, and none of the virtues with which those vices are associated...

Travel, undertaken as a part of education, should therefore have its rules. To travel for traveling’s sake is to wander, to be a vagabond; to travel to learn is still too vague; learning without some definite aim is worthless. I would give a young man a personal interest in learning, and that interest, well-chosen, will also decide the nature of the instruction. This is merely the continuation of the method I have hitherto practiced.

Now after he has considered himself in his physical relations to other creatures, in his moral relations with other men, there remains to be considered his civil relations with other ;men, there remains to be considered his civil relations with his fellow-citizens. To do this he must first study the nature of government in general, then the different forms of government, and lastly the particular government under which he was born, to know if it suits him to live under it; for by a right which nothing can abrogate, every man, when he comes of age, becomes his own master, free to renounce the contract by which he forms part of the community, by leaving the country in which that contract holds good... Strictly speaking, every man remains in the land of his birth at his own risk unless he voluntarily submits to its laws in order to acquire a right to their protection...

But now you are approaching the age when the law, giving you the control over your property, makes you master of your person. You are about to find yourself alone in society, dependent on everything, even on your patrimony. You mean to marry; that is a praiseworthy intention, it is one of the duties of man; but before you marry you must know what sort of man you want to be, how you wish to spend your life, what steps you mean to take to secure a living for your family and yourself...

In the next place I would show him every possible way of using his money in trade, in the civil service, in finance... “There is yet another way of spending your time and money; you may join the army; that is to say, you may hire yourself out at the very high wages to go and kill men who never did you any harm...”

We can hardly suppose that any of these occupations will be much to Emile’s taste. “Why,” he will exclaim, “have I forgotten the amusements of my childhood? Have I lost the use of my arms?... The only property I desire is a little farm in some quiet corner... Give me Sophy and my land, and I shall be rich.”... “A field of your own, dear Emile! Where will you find it... Do you think it is so easy to find a place where you can always live like an honest man? If there is any safe and lawful way of living without intrigues, without lawsuits, without dependence on others, it is, I admit, to live by the labor of our hands, by the cultivation of our own land; but where is the state in which a man can say, ‘The earth which I dig is my own?’ Before choosing this happy spot, be sure that you will find the peace you desire; beware lest an unjust government, a persecuting religion, and evil habits should disturb you in your home...

Let us devote the two years from now till the time of your return to choosing a place in Europe where you could live happily with your family, secure from all the dangers I have just described. If we succeed, you will have discovered that true happiness, so often sought for in vain; and you will not have to regret the time spent in its search. If we fail, you will be cured of a mistaken idea; you will console yourself for an inevitable ill, and you will bow to the law of necessity?”

I do not know whether all my readers will see whither this suggested inquiry will lead us; but this I do know, if Emile returns from his travels, begun and continued with this end in view, without a full knowledge of questions of government, public morality, and political philosophy of every kind, we are greatly lacking, he in intelligence and I in judgment... Our principles of political law are our scale. Our actual measurements are the civil law of each country... we shall see whether men are born slaves or free, in a community or independent; is their association the result of free will or of force?... Suppose we reject this theory that might is right and admit the right of nature, or the authority of the father, as the foundation of society; we shall inquire into the extent of this authority... Suppose the nations to have been formed each by its own choice; we shall then distinguish between right and fact... Taking next the law of slaver, we shall inquire whether a man can make over to another his right to himself, without restriction...

Since the nation was a nation before it chose a king, what made it a nation, except the social contract? Therefore the social contract is the foundation of all civil society, and it is in the nature of this contract that we must seek the nature of society formed by it.

We will inquire into the meaning of this contract; may it not be fairly well expressed in this formula? As an individual every one of us contributes his goods, his person, his life, to the common stock, under the supreme direction of the general will; while as a body we receive each member as an indivisible part of the whole...

Individuals having only submitted themselves to the sovereign, and the sovereign power being only the general will, we shall see that every man in obeying the sovereign only obeys himself, and how much freer are we under the social part than in the state of nature...

The greater the state, the smaller the government... the sovereign may entrust the care of the government to the whole nation or to the greater part of the nation, so that there are more citizen magistrates than private citizens. This form of government is called Democracy.

Or the sovereign may restrict the government in the hands of a lesser number, so that there are more plain citizens than magistrates; and this form of government is called Aristocracy.

Finally, the sovereign may concentrate the whole government in the hands of one man. This is the third and commonest form of government, and is called Monarchy or royal government...

In all ages there have been great disputes as to which is the best form of government, and people have failed to consider that each is the best in some cases and the worst in others... we infer that generally a democratic government is adapted to small states, an aristocratic government to those of moderate size, and a monarchy to large states...

Having thus considered every kind of civil society in itself, we shall compare them, so as to note their relations one with another; great and small, strong and weak, attacking one another, insulting one another, destroying one another... I should not be surprised if my pupil, who is a sensible young man, should interrupt me saying, “one would think we were building our edifice of wood and not of men; we are putting everything so exactly in its place!”...

I have said why travel does so little for everyone. What makes it still more barren for the young is the way in which they are sent on their travels. Tutors, more concerned to amuse than to instruct, take them from town to town, from palace to palace, where if they are men of learning and letters, they make them spend their time in libraries, or visiting antiquaries, or rummaging among old buildings transcribing ancient inscriptions. In every country they are busy over some other century, as if they were living in another country; so that after they have traveled all over Europe at great expense, a prey to frivolity or tedium, they return, having seen nothing to interest them, and having learnt nothing that could be of any possible use to them.

All capitals are just alike, they are a mixture of all nations and all ways of living; they are not the place in which to study the nations. Paris and London seem to me the same town... To study the genius and character of a nation you should go to the more remote provinces, where the inhabitants stay in one place, where there are fewer changes of wealth and position... In these remoter provinces a nation assumes its true character and shows what it really is; there the good or ill effects of the government are best perceived... In one country you begin to feel the spirit of the minister in the maneuvers of his underlings; in another you must see the election of members of parliament to see if the nation is really free...

Yet a young man must either love or fall into bad ways. It is easy to be deceived by appearances... He brings her a heart as tender as ever, and a more enlightened mind, and he returns to his native land all the better for having made acquaintance with foreign governments through their virtues. I have even taken care that he should associate himself with some man of worth in every nation, by means of a treaty of hospitality after the fashion of the ancients, and I shall not be sorry if this acquaintance is kept up by means of letters. Not only may this be useful, not only is it always pleasant to have a correspondent in foreign lands, it is also an excellent antidote against the sway of patriotic prejudices, to which we are liable all through our life, and to which sooner or later we are more or less enslaved...

When we have spent nearly two years traveling in a few of the great countries and many of the smaller countries of Europe, when we have learnt two or three of the chief languages, when we have seen what is really interesting in natural history, government, arts, or men. Emile, devoured by impatience, reminds me that our time is almost up. Then I say, “Well, my friend, you remember the main object of our journey; you have seen and observed; what is the final result of your observations? What decision have you come to?” Either my method is wrong, or he will answer me somewhat after this fashion--

“What decision have I come to? I have decided to be what you made me; of my own free will I will add no fetters to those imposed upon me by nature and the laws. The more I study the works of men in their institutions, the more clearly I see that, in their efforts after independence, they become slaves, and that their very freedom is wasted in vain attempts to assure its continuance... It seems to me that to set oneself free we need do nothing, we need only continue to desire freedom. My master, you have made me free by teaching me to yield to necessity.. In our travels I have sought for some corner of the earth where I might be absolutely my own; but where can one dwell among men without being dependent on their passions?... I can only be master of a cottage by ceasing to be master of myself... You argued very forcibly that I could not keep both my wealth and my liberty... Rich or poor, I shall be free. I shall be free not merely in this country or in that; I shall be free in any part of the world. All the chains of prejudice are broken; as far as I am concerned I know only the bonds of necessity...

“What matters my place in the world? What matters it where I am? Wherever there are men, I am among my brethren; wherever there are none, I am in my own home... If my wealth makes a slave of me, I shall find it easy to renounce it. I have hands to work, and I shall get a living... There is only one chain, a chain which I shall ever wear, a chain of which I may be justly proud. Come then, give me my Sophy, and I am free.”

“Dear Emile... I knew what the result would be before our travels; I knew that when you saw our institutions you would be far from reposing a confidence in them which they do not deserve. In vain do we seek freedom under the power of the laws... But the eternal laws of nature and of order exist. For the wise man they take the place of positive law; they are written in the depths of his heart by conscience and reason; let him obey these laws and be free; for there is no slave but the evil-doer, for he always does evil against his will. Liberty is not to be found in any form of government, she is in the heart of the free man, he bears her with him everywhere. The vile man bears his slavery in himself; the one would be a slave in Geneva, the other free in Paris...

“Oh, Emile, where is the man who owes nothing to the land in which he lives? Whatever that land may be, he owes to it the most precious thing possessed by man, the morality of his actions and the love of virtue... it is not true that he gains nothing from the laws; they give him courage to be just, even in the midst of the wicked. It is not true that they have failed to make him free; they have taught him to rule himself.

“Do not say therefore, ‘What matter where I am?’ It does matter that you should be where you can best do your duty; and one of these duties is to love your native land. Your fellow countrymen protected you in childhood; you should love them in you manhood. You should live among them... you must be their benefactor, their pattern; your example will do more than all our books, and the good they see you do will touch them more deeply than all our empty words...

If the prince or the state calls you to the service of your country, leave all to fulfill the honorable duties of a citizen in the post assigned to you. If you find that duty onerous, there is a sure and honorable means of escaping from it; do your duty so honestly that it will not long be left in your hands...

At last I see the happy day approaching, the happiest day of Emile’s life and my own... The noble pair are united till death do part; heart and lips confirm no empty vows; they are man and wife. When they return from the church, they follow where they are led... “My children,” say I, taking a hand of each, “it is three years since I beheld the birth of the pure and vigorous passion which is your happiness today. It has gone on growing; your eyes tell me that it has reached its highest point; it must inevitably decline.”... how their eyes protest that they will adore each other till their latest breath. I let them have their way; then I continue--

“I have often thought that if the happiness of love could continue in marriage, we should find a Paradise upon earth. So far this has never been. But if it were not quite impossible, you two are quite worthy to set an example you have not received, an example which few married couples could follow. My children, shall I tell you what I think is the way, and the only way, to do it?”...

“It is plain and simple,” I continue. “It consists in remaining lovers when you are husband and wife.”

“Indeed,” said Emile, laughing at my secret, “we shall not find that hard.”

“Perhaps you will find it harder than you think... Cords too tightly stretched are soon broken. This is what happens when the marriage bond is subjected to too great a strain. The fidelity imposed by it upon husband and wife is the most sacred of all rights; but it gives to each too great a power over the other. Constraint and love do not agree together, and pleasure is not to be had for the asking...

“It is not so much possession as mastery of which people tire, and affection is often more prolonged with regard to a mistress than a wife. How can people make a duty of the tenderest caresses, and a right of the sweetest pledges of love? It is mutual desire which gives the right, and nature knows no other... No my children, in marriage the hearts are bound, but the bodies are not enslaved... Neither of you may give yourself to another, but neither of you belongs to the other except at your own will.

“If it is true, dear Emile, that you would always be your wife’s lover, that she should always be your mistress and her own, be a happy but respectful lover; obtain all from love and nothing from duty, and let the slightest favors never be of right but of grace... Remember that even in marriage this pleasure is only lawful when the desire is mutual...

[To Sophy]“When the wife is like Sophy, it is, however, good for the man to be led by her; that is another of nature’s laws, and it is to give you as much authority over his heart, as his sex gives him over your person, that I have made you the arbiter of his pleasures. It will be hard for you, but you will control him if you can control yourself... You will long rule him by love if you make your favors scarce and precious, if you know how to use them aright. If you want to have your husband always in your power, keep him at a distance... Be all the dearer for your favors and all the more respected when you refuse them; let him honor his wife’s chastity, without having to complain of her coldness.

“Thus, my child, he will give you his confidence, he will listen to your opinion, will consult you in his business, and will decide nothing without you... Pleasures are destroyed by possession... When you cease to be Emile’s mistress you will be his friend and wife; you will be the mother of his children... Become so truly his better half that he can no longer do without you, and if he must leave you, let him feel that he is far from himself. You have made the charms of home life so powerful in your father’s home, let them prevail in your own. Every man who is happy at home loves his wife. Remember that if your husband is happy in his home, you will be a happy wife...

“Dear Emile, all his life through a man needs a guide and counselor. So far I have done my best to fulfill that duty, my lengthy task is now ended, and another will undertake this duty. Today I abdicate the authority which you gave me; henceforward Sophy is your guardian.”...

To do honor to their virtues, to paint their felicity, would require the history of their lives...

One morning a few months later Emile enters my room and embraces me, saying, “My master, congratulate your son; he hopes soon to have the honor of being a father. What a responsibility will be ours, how much we shall need you! Yet God forbid that I should let you educate the son as you educated the father. God forbid that so sweet and holy a task should make as good a choice for my child as was made for me! But continue to be the teacher of the young teachers. Advise and control us; we shall be easily led; as long as I live I shall need you. I need you more than ever now that I am taking up the duties of manhood. You have done your own duty; teach me to follow your example, while you enjoy your well-earned leisure.”

Suggested Citation

(2020). Book 5. In (Ed.), Philosophy of Education. EdTech Books. Retrieved from https://edtechbooks.org/philosophy_of_education/emile_5

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